Nov
18
2009

Israeli Settlement Isn't, Says Washington Post

The big news out of the Middle East yesterday was the Israeli government's decision to approve an expansion of the Gilo settlement near Jerusalem. The White House's muddled position on settlement expansion has been a key part of Israel-Palestine negotiations. Many headlines framed the news as you'd expect (New York Times: "Plan to Expand Jerusalem Settlement Angers U.S.", for example). The Washington Post, though, went with this headline today: "Housing Plan for Jerusalem Neighborhood Spurs Criticism." The article by Howard Schneider refers to a "disputed neighborhood of Jerusalem," the "Jewish neighborhood of Gilo," a place "annexed to the city in […]

Nov
16
2009

Torture Still Qualified at NY Times

New York Times on the pending trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed ( 11/15/09–emphasis added): Mr. Mohammed's initial defiance toward his captors set off an interrogation plan that would turn him into the central figure in the roiling debate over the C.I.A's interrogation methods. He was subjected 183 times to the near-drowning technique called waterboarding, treatment that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has called torture. But advocates of the C.I.A's methods, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, have said that the interrogation methods produced a trove of information that helped dismantle Al-Qaeda and disrupt potential terrorism attacks. Apparently Holder's views […]

Nov
16
2009

Obama (Still Definitely) Not Bipartisan Enough

Newsweek's Evan Thomas (11/14/09) on Washington gridlock and partisanship: Diehard right-wing congressmen do not deserve all the blame. Obama tried to foster bipartisanship at the outset of his administration, but he didn't try very hard, and his fellow Democrats can be just as rigidly partisan on the left. Obama seems reduced to fencing with Fox News, which won't get him very far or earn him a place in the history books. I'm not sure how much more ground Obama (or Democrats in general) is supposed to give. Theyadded a bunch of non-stimulative tax cuts into their stimulus package in order […]

Nov
16
2009

Media to Obama: Less Talk, More War

From ABC World News, 11/11/09: CHARLIE GIBSON: We understand he's raising new questions about a number of plans that are in front of him. What new questions are there to be asked after all this time? MARTHA RADDATZ: Well, you would think he'd be through with the questions, Charlie. Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times (11/15/09): Barack Obama is in danger of giving deliberation a bad name. David Broder, Washington Post (11/16/09– headline: "Enough Afghan Debate") It is evident from the length of this deliberative process and from the flood of leaks that have emerged from Kabul and Washington that the […]

Nov
11
2009

Dobbs: Muslims Finally Condemn Terror

CNN's Lou Dobbs (11/9/09) on the Fort Hood shootings: I think we should point out, too, for the first time in my memory in eight years, we have seen quickly CAIR step up on the day of the shootings, the largest representative of the Islamic faith step up, and condemn the shootings instantly. CAIR is the Council on American-Islamic Relations–a group that has, by its own count, issued dozens of statements condemning terrorist acts over the years, and coordinated an anti-terrorism fatwa endorsed by 340 U.S. Muslim organizations. As CAIR put it: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has a […]

Nov
11
2009

NYT on 'Pragmatic' Democrats

The headline and lead of a New York Times piece today: Trick for Democrats Is Juggling Ideology and Pragmatism By ADAM NAGOURNEY and DAVID M. HERSZENHORN WASHINGTON — Democrats have displayed a striking degree of pragmatism in seeking to push the health care bill through Congress, embracing or rejecting ideological considerations as needed to keep the legislation moving. By "ideology," the Times means policy ideas that are popular with voters and thatwould be more likely to reduce the costs of the healthcare system andcover more people(single-payer, a truly robust public plan). By "pragmatism," they mean the things that are less […]

Nov
06
2009

David Brooks' Special Suburbanites

In his New York Times column, David Brooks cheers the rise of suburban independent voters in this week's midterms elections, crediting them with Republican victories in New Jersey and Virginia. Brooks has made a career out of singing thepraises of suburban Americans,all the while suggestingthat they are somewhat ignored. While liberals and conservatives have their own media machines and think tanks, Brooks writes: Independents, who are the largest group in the electorate, don't have any of this. They don't have institutional affiliations. They don't look to certain activist lobbies for guidance. There aren't many commentators who come from an independent […]

Nov
06
2009

Bill O'Reilly and Cuban-Style Tax Rates

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, commenting on a tax increase in California: That could happen on the federal level. Already Nancy Pelosi and her far-left crew want to raise the top federal tax rate to 45 percent. That's not capitalism. That's Fidel Castro stuff, confiscating wages that people honestly earn. Setting aside the truth of the charge against Pelosi, Fidel Castro must have been the president of the United States in 1982-86, when the top rate was 50 percent. Or maybe all of the 1970s, when it was 70 percent. Or from 1950-63, when it was 91 percent.

Nov
06
2009

The Election Lesson: Hoover Was Right!

The Washington Post reported (11/5/09) that some Democrats are "questioning whether they should emphasize job creation over some of the more ambitious items on the president's agenda." A couple paragraphs later, reporters Michael Shear and Paul Kane elaborate: Moderate and conservative Democrats took a clear signal from Tuesday's voting, warning that the results prove that independent voters are wary of Obama's far-reaching proposals and mounting spending, as well as the growing federal debt. The implication that "job creation" is somehow at odds with "mounting spending" and "ambitious" or "far-reaching" government proposals is a another example of the neo-Hooverism that corporate […]

Nov
05
2009

'Pansy' John Stossel and Bill 'Man of the People' O'Reilly

O'Reilly interviewing John Stossel, who left ABC for Fox Business Network (11/3/09): O'REILLY: You committed the cardinal sin of all time. You left a liberal network, and you went to a traditional right-leaning network. So you're never, ever going to be liked again by anyone. Does that make you sad? STOSSEL: Well, I live with these people. They all live in my neighborhood. So that makes me sad. O'REILLY: Move out to Long Island where I live, because I live with the folks. STOSSEL: I like taking the subway to work. O'REILLY: You're a pansy. Come out to Long Island. […]

Nov
04
2009

USA Today Transmits a Warning to Imaginary Democrats

Under the headline "Va., N.J. Give GOP Reason to Celebrate," USA Today's front-page election report (11/4/09) featured this quote from GOP strategist Frank Donatelli: The warning is that if you're in a moderate district, or you're in a moderate-to-conservative state, you should think twice before you rubberstamp Obama's agenda. Well, there were two districts choosing representatives and two states picking governors yesterday. Both the districts, including the one generally described as "moderate," went for the Democratic candidate, so it's not clear what warning that sends about Obama's agenda. In both states, the Democrat lost the governor's race, and one of […]

Nov
03
2009

Al Gore, Still a Smartypants

In this week's cover story, Newsweek's Sharon Begley seems to think Al Gore's new book is good–but he's still too wonky: To anyone with bad memories of how Gore's fact-filled debate performances against George W. Bush in 2000 failed to connect with voters, it may come as no surprise that Our Choice has a graphic on "how a wind turbine works," and a long section that begins: "Conventional hydrothermal plants are built according to one of three different designs. The steam can be taken directly through the turbine and then recondensed…." A wind turbine GRAPHIC! In a book about green […]

Nov
03
2009

One Reporter's Iraq War Lessons

On November 1, New York Times reporter Alissa Rubin has a look back at her experience as a war correspondent in Iraq. It's mostly interesting, though when she gets to the part where she draws the big lessons, things turn for the worse: In my five years in Iraq, all that I wanted to believe in was gunned down. Sunnis and Shiites each committed horrific crimes, and the Kurds, whose modern-looking cities and Western ways seemed at first so familiar, turned out to be capable of their own brutality. The Americans, too, did their share of violence, and among the […]